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University Profile


The University of Arkansas is a nationally competitive, student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world.


Founded as a land-grant college and state university in 1871, the University of Arkansas opened its doors to students on January 22, 1872. Under the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862, federal land sales provided funds for the new university, which was charged with teaching "agricultural and the mechanic arts," "scientific and classical studies," and "military tactics" to Arkansas scholars.

Statewide elections, held to establish bonds to help finance the University, eventually determined the school’s location. Washington County and the City of Fayetteville submitted the highest bid, a total of $130,000, to which was added a $50,000 state appropriation for the benefit of the institution and $135,000 from the sale of federal lands. With $12,000 of this money, the University purchased a 160-acre farm, the homestead of William McIlroy, and established its campus on a hilltop overlooking the Ozark Mountains.

There were few facilities and little money that first academic year, but the eight students and three faculty members who gathered for classes in 1872 showed the same dedication to learning and commitment to excellence that has carried the University of Arkansas into the 21st century. Over the past 137 years, the University has developed into a mature institution with nine schools and colleges, more than 800 faculty members, and 18,648 students. It serves as the major provider of graduate-level instruction in Arkansas. The research and scholarly endeavors of its faculty make it an economic and cultural engine for the state. And its public service activities reach every county in Arkansas, throughout the nation, and around the world.


As a land-grant university, the University of Arkansas strives to fulfill a three-fold mission of teaching, research, and service. In addition, as the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville serves as the state’s major center of liberal and professional education and as Arkansas’ main source of theoretical and applied research.

Students pursue a broad spectrum of academic programs leading to baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees, not only in traditional disciplines within arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, but also in the core professional areas of agricultural, food and life sciences; architecture; business; education; engineering; nursing; human environmental sciences; and law.

The University of Arkansas houses more than 200 academic programs and offers 87 bachelor’s degrees in 74 fields of study. Students may also pursue a wide range of graduate degrees, including the Master’s, the Educational Specialist, the Doctor of Education, and the Doctor of Philosophy. Information about graduate programs can be found in the Graduate School Catalog or on the World Wide Web at

The Carnegie Foundation categorizes the University of Arkansas as a research institution with "high research activity," placing the University among the top 10 percent of universities nationwide and in a class by itself within the state of Arkansas. In its 2007 edition, U.S. News and World Report ranked the University among the top tier of institutions of higher education. Faculty members perform cutting-edge research for which they annually win prestigious grants and awards, and the University encourages undergraduates to participate in the research process. Such opportunities enhance the learning process by providing hands-on experience in lab and research techniques, by developing students’ abilities to implement, experiment, discover and teach, and by fostering a mentoring relationship early in students’ academic careers.

Research programs involving both faculty and students serve as vital sources of information on the economic and social needs of Arkansas. In many fields, research performed at the University of Arkansas reaches beyond the state to provide insight and guidance on issues of national and international concern. The University provides extensive technical and professional services to varied groups and individuals throughout the state, helping to further Arkansas’ economic growth. The University operates nationally respected high school and college-level correspondence programs; it assists other institutions in developing educational programs; it offers graduate programs, both cooperatively and singly, throughout the state; and it makes specialized campus resources such as computing services and library holdings available to other institutions in the state.


Fayetteville, a thriving city of 65,000 in the northwest corner of the state, is home to the University of Arkansas campus, which comprises 345 acres and 133 buildings. Lying on the western edge of the Ozark Mountains, the city boasts a lively cultural scene and easy access to outdoor recreation. In 2003, Outside magazine named Fayetteville 23rd out of the top 40 college towns in America. Fayetteville was heralded as one of Business Week’s 2002 "Dazzling Dozen" small cities in the United States.

Northwest Arkansas is the sixth-fastest-growing region in the nation, according to the U.S. Census, and was recently included among the top four "Best Places for Work" by CNN/Money. Fayetteville’s temperate climate ensures beautiful seasons year-round. The city is central to larger metropolitan areas, including Dallas, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, St. Louis, and Tulsa, and has direct flights from Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Washington, and Atlanta, among other cities.

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